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Heat add Penney to its depleted roster

Copyright Palm Beach Post Nov 4, 2003


The Heat's distress call to guard Kirk Penney came at 1 a.m. Sunday.

By Monday evening Penney, the 6-foot-5, 220-pound New Zealand native was on the court for the Heat's game against Dallas. He played 14 minutes and scored three points.

"He's had a walk-through (practice) with us so he should be pretty up to speed," coach Stan Van Gundy quipped before the game, demonstrating he still can laugh about his team's injury problems.

With guard Eddie Jones unable to play Monday because of a strained right calf, the Heat found itself entering Monday's game against the Mavericks with just nine players on the roster, and almost as important, few scoring options.

Penney, whose name was incorrectly spelled P-e-n-n-y on the back of his No. 20 Miami jersey, was the best available solution because he's a shooter. He went undrafted after concluding his career at Wisconsin last season as the sixth-leading scorer in school history (1,454 points) and second all-time in three-pointers made (217) and attempted (561).

The two-time All-Big Ten selection attended the pre-draft camp in Chicago and was signed by Minnesota, which he played for in the Orlando summer league. His best game was a 16-point outing against the Heat in which he shot 6-for-10 in 17 minutes.

Penney averaged 11.4 points for Minnesota, where he played alongside Heat forward John Wallace and seemed pleased with his showing.

"I thought I did pretty good," he said.

But it wasn't enough to impress the Timberwolves, and they cut him before the season.

There's no telling how long Penney will remain with the Heat, but the team placed forward Samaki Walker on the injured list, meaning he has to miss at least the next five games.

Walker was complaining about back and shoulder pain last week, and MRIs showed his back isn't a career-threatening condition and his shoulder can be treated with medication. Walker isn't so sure, however, so he stayed home to rehabilitate and get a second opinion.

The Heat hopes to have all five of its starters available for Saturday's game against Minnesota for the first time this season.

Guard Dwyane Wade (left hip), Jones and forward Caron Butler (knee) are expected to join forward Lamar Odom and center Brian Grant in the starting lineup.

That would leave a bench of guards Penney, Rafer Alston and Bimbo Coles, forwards Malik Allen, Udonis Haslem and Jerome Beasley, and center Loren Woods.